I'm not a huge Valentine's Day fan. Not in a Liz Lemon kind of way,* but I just don't get all worked up over Valentine's Day celebrations. Maybe because we just got over Christmas, and the stress of finding the "perfect" gift, I can't get enthusiastic over another holiday with such high expectations. My favorite part of Valentine's is the heart-shaped cookies, which doesn't do much for me this year as it is (almost) sugar-free February!
Don't get me wrong, I like things that are heart-shaped (cookies, as above, and heart shaped jewelry), and I love the colors pink and red, and I love flowers (though preferably in gardens, or cut from gardens, and not over-priced for over-commercialized holidays).
This is not a rant, though. I am probably a little over-defensive because I have not bought (or made, haha) any Valentine's Day cards** or gifts.
Anyhow, Rod and I had plans to go to Oregon for a long weekend, and I kind of thought that a weekend trip would suffice for a Valentine's celebration, if one is needed. But we had to cancel the trip, so here we are at home and I have nothing.
Although cancelling our weekend plans was a bit disappointing, it did open things up a lot here. I had already made arrangements to take Friday off, and Monday is a holiday, so it is still a long weekend off from work. We jumped on the opportunity to do some weekday skiing yesterday, and will probably go up again on Monday.
With the change in schedule, I decided at the last minute (a couple days ago) to go ahead and do the Valentine's Day Love 'em or Leave 'em 5K in Seattle, at Green Lake. I've run it for at least the last three years, and it's a good opportunity to squeeze in a winter 5K when there aren't that many opportunities around.
I didn't ask anyone to go with me (although my mom has always gone) because my plan was just to run it and hustle home. So I drove down to Seattle alone this morning and was lucky to find a parking place only about a quarter mile from the start. That made it possible to go pick up my packet and come back to the car to get ready.
The race started at 9:30, and at 8:30 I left the car and started my warm-up by running back over to the starting area. I like to do a lap around the lake (2.8 miles) to warm up for Green Lake races. With the extra distance from the car, I ended up with a total warm-up distance of 3.33 miles.
This is a pretty big race, about 3,000 participants, and I stationed myself pretty close to the front of the pack for starting. Even though we had chips, I didn't want to mess with being held back by walkers and slower runners.
I didn't have any huge goals for this run. I was pretty sure there would be no PR, it was too early in the year (and two early in my return to speedwork) for that. I hoped to be under 25 minutes, but I wasn't even sure if I could do that.
In the first few minutes after the start, my watch was showing 8-something for pace, and I pretty much thought that was it, there was no way I could break 25. I felt like I was running as fast as I could under the circumstances.
But somehow, as my legs got accustomed to the pace, I did speed up, and then my watch was showing sub-8 minutes, almost constantly throughout the run. It. Was. Hard, though. I don't know how many times I thought how I hated 5K's, and would rather be running a marathon instead! (Or at least a half.) I was gulping air and I was definitely pushing my lactic threshhold. In the last mile I resorted my old trick of running from landmark to landmark, in this case signs which were probably only about .05 miles apart!
I managed to speed up just a little bit for the final tenth of a mile (dubbed the "tunnel of love," in keeping with the Valentine's theme), and crossed the finish line with the clock showing 24-something. My Garmin gives me a time of 24:29 for 3.15 miles, and I am waiting on the chip time. Should be pretty close to the watch, I assume. (Splits 7:39, 7:49, 7:51, and .15 mile at 7:24 pace. Average 7:46 pace. Which is very close to the pace I was doing in my 400's a couple weeks back. It really was 5K pace, I guess! At least 5K pace at the present time.)
It's a good thing that I did the long warm-up, because after I stopped running any thoughts I may have had about doing an extra mile or two afterwards dissipated entirely. I was going to watch some of the other finishers come in, but the free massage booth had NO line, so instead I got a great neck and shoulder massage.
Then I headed toward the car. I hadn't planned on picking up a bunch of stuff from the booths, because I end up with a bunch of granola bars I never eat (remains of the SoyJoy debacle still clutter up my pantry, I should throw that stuff away). But my-oh-my. Top Pot doughnuts was giving away full-sized old-fashioned doughnuts in individual packages! Everyone was walking away with handfuls, so I did not feel TOO piggish when I took three, one for me*** and two to give away, probably to my parents to make up for not inviting them to the race.
Then I grabbed two Cascadian Farms granola bars (which I do like, and do eat), and Pop Chips! I have only read about these on the internet. So of course I had to grab a couple of each flavor that they had. These individual bags have 50 calories each, perfect to go with lunches.
My hands were so full that I could barely make it to the car without dropping stuff. That ended any thoughts I might still have had about running more. Instead, I dumped my goodies in the car, drove over to Starbucks for a coffee, and enjoyed my delicious doughnut.
I did, however, stop at the Y for 70 minutes on the elliptical when I got back to Everett. Take that, doughnut!
I have been sneezing and blowing my nose all the rest of the afternoon. It is SO annoying. I took a Benadryl, and finally I seem to have dried up and calmed down a little. I know I don't have a cold, it's like I irritated my nasal passages in the run. Hopefully it will go away by tomorrow.
Valentine's Day plans? Long run... then we shall see. Have a good one! XOX to all (in honor of Valentine's Day).
*On last Thursday's 30 Rock episode, Liz referred to Valentine's Day as Anna Howard Shaw Day, the birthday of a famous suffragist. She also scheduled a root canal on Valentine's Day. Just to show she doesn't care about it.
**Haven't mailed my after-Christmas cards either. Even though they have been done for a long time.
***An unavoidable aberration from Sugar-free February.